Calif. Gov. Gavin Newsom says 480 street cameras to be installed in Oakland, East Bay – UPI News

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March 29 (UPI) — California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Friday announced a contract to install 480 high-tech cameras in Oakland and East Bay to battle crime.

Newsom in a statement said the California Highway Patrol entered into a contract with Flock Safety to install 290 cameras on surface streets in Oakland and 190 along state highways in East Bay.


The camera system is expected to give law enforcement improved vehicle recognition, allowing them to search for crime-linked vehicles by type, make, color, license plate state, missing/covered plates and other important features.

The system also has real-time crime alerts for when a suspect vehicle is spotted by the network.

In the interest of public privacy, footage will only be retained for 28 days and will not be shared with third parties outside of California law enforcement, Newsom’s office said.

The cameras are expected to be installed within the next six months, although there is not a clear timeline.

The contract with Flock Safety comes at a time when crime has surged in Oakland, particularly among car break-ins, property damage and robberies. The crimes have caused regional fast food chain In-N-Out Burger to close its only Oakland restaurant, the first closure in the company’s 75-year history.


Local news outlets also noted Bay Area freeway shootings have doubled that of Los Angeles since 2021.

Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao said the new camera network with “help us stop crime and hold more suspects accountable.”

The plan, however, has its detractors. Cat Brooks, founder of the Anti-Police Terror Project, and a 2018 Oakland mayoral candidate questioned the undisclosed cost of the cameras.

“For every dollar we spend on surveillance cameras, that’s a dollar not spent on proven public safety strategies,” Brooks said in a statement. “We are concerned by both a state and city in massive budget deficits and the largest homeless population in our city and across the country.

“When we decide to deploy 480 new cameras, we should be asking how many people could be housed with the money we spend on this, how many people could be trained to do living wage jobs.”

Newsom’s office has not given a total cost for the project, but a Flock Safety spokesperson said the total network costs more than $1.4 million a year.

Brian Hofer, chair of the Oakland Privacy Commission, said he was concerned about the cameras because the state doesn’t have the strict privacy rules that he helped write to protect Oakland residence from mass surveillance.


“The biggest unknown question is whose rules we are playing by,” Hofer said. “The more accumulation of data, there’s a greater privacy risk. People are acting on fear and they think these cameras will solve on their problems.”

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